Clement Beaune, Emmanuel Macron’s right-hand man, said that EU member states are planning fresh measures to increase pressure on the UK over its Brexit promises.
French European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told Europe 1 radio on Tuesday that European Union nations will unveil steps to apply pressure on London to comply with the Brexit agreements signed with the bloc when Britain left the EU within days.
He did not specify what those steps might be, but in an interview with the radio station, he said that Britain is reliant on energy supplies from Europe.
He expressed France’s displeasure with British dependent Jersey’s decision to deny fishing permits to dozens of French vessels.
“Enough already, we have an agreement negotiated by France, by Michel Barnier, and it should be applied 100 percent. It isn’t being.” He was alluding to the EU’s former chief Brexit negotiator, who is French.
“In the next few days, and I talked to my European counterparts on this subject yesterday, we will take measures at the European level or nationally to apply pressure on the United Kingdom.”
“We defend our interests,” he stressed.
“We do it nicely and diplomatically, but when that doesn’t work, we take measures.”
“For example, we can imagine, since we’re talking about energy, … the United Kingdom depends on our energy supplies.”
“It thinks that it can live all alone and bash Europe.”
Yesterday, the French lawmaker gathered EU peers for a special conference in the hopes of devising a strategy to combat the UK’s fishing rights.
“With Annick Girardin, we brought together our counterparts from the countries directly concerned by fishing issues, to jointly defend our interests and our fishermen in the face of non-compliance with the Brexit deal by the UK,” Mr Beaune wrote on Twitter.
For weeks, France has been at odds with the United Kingdom over Brexit.
Tensions were heightened when the UK only granted fishing licences to 12 of 47 French fishermen who applied recently.
French authorities have denounced the action as “unacceptable,” raising worries of a full-fledged diplomatic crisis erupting across the English Channel.
Fishing boats have already threatened to cut power to Jersey, and pundits fear that they may try to block the Channel Tunnel between France and the United Kingdom.
The Northern Ireland protocol, which specifies Northern Ireland’s position on a border with the European Union, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, is also causing friction.
As part of the agreement, it was agreed that no new inspections on goods crossing the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is still a member of the EU, would be implemented.
France is one of the UK’s most important energy ties to the continent, supplying over 6% of the UK’s energy in 2018.
Since 1986, France and the United Kingdom have traded electricity. An undersea link between the two countries went live earlier this year. The £700 million IFA2 interconnector between Hampshire and Normandy is intended to meet 1.2 percent of the UK’s electricity demand.
However, Britain has been diversifying its energy portfolio and, with the help of Norway, may be able to avoid a conflict with the French. The world’s longest undersea power lines, connecting Northumberland and Norway in the North Sea, went live last week.
The line will have a peak capacity of 1,400 megawatts and be able to power up to 1.4 million residences.